Abortion Advocates Blast Pennsylvania Bill Responding to Gosnell

State   |   Maria Vitale   |   Apr 20, 2011   |   12:07PM   |   Harrisburg, PA

The abortion industry and its allies in Pennsylvania have launched a campaign against a modest bill aimed at stricter regulation of abortion facilities in the Commonwealth. The measure is a response to the atrocities discovered at Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion center. Gosnell and members of his unlicensed staff are charged with the murders of seven newborn babies and one female patient.

The ACLU-PA and Planned Parenthood are teaming up to oppose HB 574, which would require abortion facilities to follow the same safety standards that govern ambulatory surgical facilities. The bill is sponsored by State Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga).

The ACLU has mounted a video campaign through the social networking site Facebook to oppose the legislation. The organization, which supports legal abortion, says that the bill would cost abortion operations hundreds of thousands of dollars in building renovations and staffing increases and would result in the closing of abortion centers.

In an interview with the website PoliticsPA, Rep. Baker responded, “Why do they feel that they should not have to undergo the same patient health safety standards as other facilities, this just defies logic.”

Meanwhile, Charlene Bashore, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life, told PoliticsPA, “HB 574 is a direct and timely response to the recommendations of the Grand Jury report which investigated the Gosnell tragedy.”

Bashore also told PoliticsPA, “It is difficult to understand why there is now such vitriolic opposition to HB 574. Since I have no reason to doubt the truthfulness of the statements made in the Grand Jury report, I can only surmise that they are now advocating for entities other than those which were described as ‘the legitimate abortion providers.’”

Rep. Baker has introduced two other pieces of legislation in response to the Gosnell tragedy. HB 907 would expand the statute of limitations for late-term abortions and infanticide, while HB 908 would increase the penalties for impersonating a physician.

There was “more oversight of women’s hair salons and nail salons” than over abortion facilities in Pennsylvania, according to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.

Williams said Gosnell’s facility was responsible for “horrific and barbaric treatment of women and young girls.” But, despite dozens of lawsuits being filed against Gosnell, state officials did not take action until after a federal drug raid of his abortion center.

Pennsylvania health department officials stopped conducting yearly inspections of abortion centers under former Governor Tom Ridge, citing concerns that the inspections would create a barrier for women’s access to abortion. As a result, Gosnell’s facility was not inspected for 17 years.

According to prosecutors, Gosnell’s patients paid from $330 to $2500 for each abortion. He reportedly earned $1.8 million a year from his abortion trade.

Prosecutors say Gosnell taught his unlicensed, unqualified staff to take ultrasounds in such a way that the true size and age of the unborn baby were disguised. Under Pennsylvania law, abortions are illegal after 24 weeks unless the mother’s life is seriously threatened or when the pregnancy would result in irreversible impairment of a bodily function.  The fraudulent ultrasounds permitted him to perform abortions well past the cut-off point established under the state’s landmark Abortion Control Act.

But Gosnell went beyond performing abortions, allowing late-term babies to be delivered live, then severing their spinal cords with scissors.

Much of Gosnell’s clientele consisted of low-income minority women and immigrants who were particularly vulnerable to Gosnell’s allegedly criminal practices.

“So many of the women were poor—maybe no one heard their voices,” Williams said.

The abortion industry has been forced to suspend abortion businesses that employed embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who has been the subject of national controversy over his abortion business in Philadelphia.

ACTION: Contact your state legislators at https://www.legis.state.pa.us and urge them to support HB 574.

LifeNews.com Note: Maria Vitale is an opinion columnist for LifeNews.com. She is the Public Relations Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Vitale has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.